Crystal Lake South co-op’s Avery Watson placed first in two individual races and took part in two winning relays to help lead the Gators to the Fox Valley Conference Girls Swimming Invitational championship Oct. 29 at Woodstock North.
Watson’s big day earned her Most Valuable Swimmer of the meet as the Gators ended Huntley’s streak of three consecutive FVC titles.
Watson finished first in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke, while the 200 medley relay of Maddy Uhl, Abi Zelikman, Watson and Bella Fontana and 400 free relay of Watson, Mackenzie Resch, Abby Uhl and Fontana also won.
Watson continued her stellar junior season by qualifying in three events for the state meet, which begins Friday at the FMC Natatorium in Westmont, making it in the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke and 400 free relay with Resch, Fontana and Abby Uhl.
As a team, the Gators netted an area-best six state bids. Watson will swim at state for the second year in a row.
For her performance, Watson was named the Northwest Herald Athlete of the Week by readers. She answered a few questions from sports writer Alex Kantecki.
When and why did you start swimming?
Watson: I started swimming about 11 years ago when I was 5 years old because my mom signed me up for a summer swim team at Stingray Bay.
Do you have any superstitions before you compete in a race?
Watson: Where do I even start? The list is so long. To name a few, I have to eat a blueberry muffin for breakfast, and I pack the same snacks and eat them in the same order during meets. I always do the same stretches behind the blocks and use the same roller before every event.
If you could be any superhero, which super power would you want?
Watson: If I could have any super power, it would be to read people’s minds.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Watson: My favorite athlete is Michael Phelps. It’s fun to watch him swim, and I think his mental health journey is very inspiring.
What is something that you can’t live without?
Watson: I can’t live without my water bottle. I carry it around with me no matter where I am.
What is something that scares you?
Watson: Not knowing or having control of what is in my future.
Who is your hero?
Watson: My heroes are my parents. Their dedication to my success in school and swimming motivates me to give 100% in everything I do.
What is one food you can’t stand to eat?
Watson: I can’t stand to eat olives.
What would be your dream job?
Watson: My dream job is to be a lawyer and then become a judge.
What is your least favorite race, and why?
Watson: My least favorite event to swim is the 500 free because I get bored swimming so many laps.
What is something that a lot of people do not know about you?
Watson: Some people don’t know that I have a twin brother (Drew).